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Why this election matters to you and me?

ucyow3c5 May 2015

The 7th of May is fast approaching!

Besides the all-important exams, an important national event will be taking place on Thursday – the 2015 General Election.

This year marks the first time Members of Parliament have served a full five-year term before facing the electorate again. If you are planning to stay away from the polling booth, think carefully because:

1. This election is genuinely unpredictable (and interesting)

The latest polling results have produced mixed fortunes for the two major political parties. According to a YouGov survey done on behalf of The Sunday Times between 1st and 2nd May, the Conservatives are projected to secure 34% of the popular vote while Labour polls at 33%. Conversely, an online poll conducted by Survation for Mail on Sunday during the same period suggests Labour will capture the most votes (34%) with the Conservatives trailing at 31%. The contrasting results highlight the sheer unpredictability of this election. (more…)

Why should students vote?

ucyow3c16 April 2015

The political activist and anarchist Emma Goldman once famously said that “if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”. Does that mean we should bother at all come May 7?

In actual fact voting for most people for much of British history was illegal. From 1265 to 1832, less than 10% of the adult male population had the right to vote. Between 1838 and 1848 a popular movement, Chartism, organised around 6 demands including universal male franchise and the secret ballot. It was not until 1918 that any women were able to vote in Britain and it took all the way until 1928 (only 87 years ago) for all adult men and women to be given the vote.

Groups like the Chartists and the Suffragettes worked tirelessly to fight for the right of ordinary people to vote and so it’s important to realise having the vote is an important gain that people have made in the battle for democracy. Often it does feel, especially to young people, that none of the political parties represents them but I would nevertheless recommend going along to the voting booth, even if it’s only to spoil the ballot and show your dissatisfaction, simply to support the principle of a democratic society.

It is likely that the next government that is elected will be led by either the Conservative Party or the Labour Party, but there are also other parties to choose from such as

Liberal Democrats

Green Party

UK Independence Party

Left Unity

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

As well as many more smaller parties as well as regional parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are over 7 million students in the UK, most of whom are eligible to vote, meaning that as a voting constituency we are able to massively affect the outcome of May’s General Election, so why not have your say?

Remember to register to vote here at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. All UK, Irish and Commonwealth citizens are eligible to do so and you must be sure to register by April 20.

To find out more visit the UCLU General Election 2015 site

Omar Raii
External Affairs & Campaigns Officer